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The Nameless Ones


The Nameless Ones

John Connolly has quite a way with words. Perhaps this is what has made his books, especially his Charlie Parker novels, so engaging. He continues to mix thrills with a touch of the supernatural, and the result is a unique series that never ceases to surprise.

THE NAMELESS ONES is a bit of a departure as Charlie Parker is merely referenced here and will later play a small part in the action. Taking the lead this time are Louis and Angel, colleagues of his who are currently based in Amsterdam. They are ruthless killers who are eager to use whatever violence is necessary to defeat their enemies or avenge a wrong.

Before diving into the action, I highly recommend reading the Author’s Note. We are given a brief history lesson primarily on the political climate of six former areas of the Soviet Union, now individual republics, all from the disintegration of what was once Yugoslavia. The result was a clash among the Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Slovenes, Albanians and other smaller ethnic groups. This hotbed created some hard, violent people with no sense of right or wrong --- just a willingness to do whatever was necessary to forward their own cause.

"THE NAMELESS ONES is one of the best novels I have read in this series... The pacing is tense throughout, and the chess game between the two groups of assassins will keep your heart jumping from start to finish."

A group of these men are the targets of Louis and Angel. De Jaager is an elderly man who had been known as “the Hunter.” He is currently aligned with the Serbian war criminals who go by the name Vuksans, but they do not trust him. Perhaps that is why they crucify him inside their safe house in a room that quickly turns into an abattoir filled with the blood of women and men who are tortured, raped and probably enduring even worse than that, all while the dying De Jaager gets to watch. The problem is that he is a friend of Louis, who does not take kindly to finding his pal crucified and tortured to death.

The FBI is well aware of what is going on and realizes that Louis is on his own. Now, fueled with the fire of revenge, Louis is going to do their bidding in Amsterdam or wherever the Vuksans go, picking the group off one by one until they are all as dead as De Jaager. This is not going to be an easy task as there is a wild card amongst the group of six. Zorya is a female killer who some refer to as a witch and others as a strigoi, or the undead. She is one to be reckoned with as she has alleged supernatural powers that make her a particularly deadly killer.

Radovan, the planner of the operation, and his hot-headed brother, Spiridon, lead the group from place to place until they find a safe country where they can flee. Their plan will involve acquiring new identities and passports to allow for the escape. Meanwhile, Louis and Angel return to New York for important meetings before venturing back to Europe to find the Vuksans. They discussed the possibility of Angel staying behind, but in the end, he had no choice but to support Louis and join him on this mission of death.

Upon their return to Europe, Louis brings along two assassins from Japan who enjoy working with him. He needs to stack the deck if he is to bring down this group and the alleged witch within it. The novel hops from Paris to Prague in pursuit of the fleeing Vuksans, and the international locales add a lot of flavor to the proceedings. One by one, Louis and his crew begin picking off the Vuksans, even using drones armed with explosives to do their dirty work. Eventually, we will get to the area where the novel’s climax takes place: a cemetery within Simmering, just beyond Vienna, Austria, filled with graves of unknown origin --- the Cemetery of the Nameless.

In the last third of the book, we get to see some action with Charlie Parker, who is doing work in Portland, Maine, related to the situation that Louis is facing in Europe. He stays in regular contact with Louis and Angel, and it feels good to have him around, like an old friend to whom you have grown accustomed. The final showdown in the Cemetery of the Nameless and the anticipated confrontation with the mysterious Zorya are worth the price of admission.

THE NAMELESS ONES is one of the best novels I have read in this series, perhaps due to the fact that Charlie is able to step aside to allow some of the tertiary characters to take center stage in a big way. The pacing is tense throughout, and the chess game between the two groups of assassins will keep your heart jumping from start to finish.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 5, 2021

The Nameless Ones
by John Connolly